Friday, August 3, 2012

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter

by William Deresiewicz

Grade: 4 stars

Thoughts: An ex-Yale professor of English talks in a clear and amusing style about the influence Jane Austen had on his life, from when he was a young jerk of complete self-confidence, to someone who actually understood people well enough to get married.

My favourite chapters were the first and the second-to-last. The first was about Emma, which is my favourite Austen, I think (well...maybe P&P...). It was the chapter in which he initially realizes that Austen is, in fact, absolutely fabulous--not just for women, not soap-opera-y in the least, and full of fascinating and unusual insights into human character.

The penultimate chapter was about Sense and Sensibility, but more importantly, it was about love. As in actual love, not the kind of Romance that practically everyone in the whole word mistakes for love right now. Deresiewicz seems to be one of the few secular authors I've read who really understands the relationship between feelings, intellect, and will, with regards to marriage. And it is all Austen's fault that he does.

This is labelled "To Own" not because I loved it enormously (although it was very good) but because I would like to recommend it and refer to it in the future. Especially that penultimate chapter.

P.S. This is non-fiction, so it seems strange to talk about one's favourite character, but still--his professor was awesome. To be someone like him is, and almost always has been, my dream life.

1 comment:

Aquinas' Goose said...

As an Austen fan, I believe I shall have to pick this up! Thanks for reading it.